Thomas Morton and Martha Frances Brown of Barnesville, Georgia

Thomas Morton and Martha Frances Brown were twins born on February 17, 1838 in Pike County, Georgia to Stephen Justus Brown (1798-1857) and Susanna Lacy (1817-1878).   Stephen and Susanna were actually cousins, the children of sisters Francis and Anne Durham of North Carolina.  Their ancestors settled in the area and were responsible for naming Durham, North Carolina.  Stephen’s father, John R. Brown, was a captain in the Revolutionary War who was born in Virginia and moved to the Chapel Hill/Durham area.  John would later move to Baldwin County, Georgia.  He married Frances Durham after his first wife died.  Stephen and Susanna moved to Pike County, Georgia in 1828 and settled on Zebulon Road about two miles west of Barnesville.  He was listed as a farmer in the 1850 census. 

Sixth plate daguerreotype of Martha Frances Brown

Martha Frances married Benjamin Charles Milner (1832-1902) on December 27, 1853 when she was 15 years of age.  Her daguerreotype was likely made at about the time of their marriage based on case and mat characteristics.  The Milner family was prominent in the area and was involved in railroad construction.   Benjamin Charles and Martha were living in Baldwin County, Alabama near Stockton in the 1860 census as they were in the area for railroad construction.  Incidentally, it appears that Thomas Morton was living with them at the time and was listed in the census as a “railroad overseer”.  He had apparently joined in his brother in law’s railroad construction endeavors. Martha died on February 10, 1910 and is buried in Zebulon Street Cemetery in Barnesville.

Thomas Morton enlisted on May 7, 1862 in Griffin, Georgia to Captain Obadiah C. Gibson’s company of light artillery (Griffin Light Artillery).  This unit was later led by Captain John Scogin and became known as Scogin’s Battery of Georgia Light Artillery.   The unit was initially in John King Jackson’s brigade of Withers’ division in the Army of Tennessee.  They were later transferred in August 1863 to Cheatham’s division.  Brown was killed in action at the Battle of Chickamauga on September 19, 1863. 

Ninth plate melainotype of Private Thomas Morton Brown

The image of Brown was taken on March 2, 1863 based on the case inscription.  In the image, Brown wears a dark unbuttoned jacket with 5 of the buttons visible but gilded.  The jacket does not appear to have any insignia.  His belt buckle is an imported “snake buckle” that has been gilded.  He also has two revolvers tucked in each side of his belt.  The image is presented in a Berg 5-21 “fold over” leather case.  This case was popular in 1858-1865. The inscription on the pad of the case reads:

“March the 2nd ‘63

Killed in battle of

Chickamauga on

Sept. 19 1863.

Thomas Morton


Barnesville, Ga.”

Apparently Morton was the only member of the unit killed in the battle as Captain Scogin’s report noted that only one private was killed in the action.

Detail of the inscription
Inscription that accompanied the image of Thomas Morton Brown

The first of Benjamin Charles and Martha’s children was Tilola Warthen “Lola” Milner.  She was born on February 28, 1855 in Barnesville.  She was 5 at the time of the 1860 census.  Lola was responsible for the inscriptions that accompany this image grouping.  Her image was likely taken in 1859-1860 based on case characteristics.  Lola would die on July 11, 1936 in Atlanta, Georgia.  The ninth plate ambrotype of Lola shows her at about 5-6 years of age wearing a dress with checks.  She wears a gilded round medallion around her neck.  The image has some loss to the lower right side.  It is presented in a Nolan #826 (Morgan’s geometric) full case.  

Ninth plate ambrotype of Tilola Warthen “Lola” Milner

1853-1856 Quarter Plate Daguerreotype of a Probable Mardi Gras Page by Edward Jacobs of New Orleans

c 1853-1856 Quarter plate daguerreotype of a possible Mardi Gras page by Edward Jacobs Author’s collection

This quarter plate daguerreotype depicts a young boy in striped pants, a jacket with lace up sleeves, and a white shirt with a stiff, ruffled collar and cuffs.  There is an elaborate hat that rests on the table beside him. Given his costume, this boy likely served on the Mardi Gras court, as an attendant to the queen. The image was taken by Edward Jacobs of New Orleans and contains his studio imprint “E. Jacobs, N.O.” on the mat.  

The image is housed in a Rinhart #260 (Roses and Bluebells) leather case.  This case was introduced in about 1853.  The mat is a modified nonpareil that was primarily used from 1843-1849 but had use in the early to mid 1850’s as well.  The mat contains a sandy texture with an inside bevel.  The image contains a preserver (Nolan s_horseshoes) that was in common use from 1850-1856.  Given these characteristics it is likely that the image was made between 1853-1856.  

The image was previously part of the Eugene R. Groves Collection of 19th Century Photography.

Detail of face and collar
Hat detail
Sleeve detail also showing striped pants
Edward Jacobs studio stamped mat

Edward Jacobs (1813-1892) was born in England and was an active artist and photographer in New Orleans from 1844-1864. He initially established a daguerrian gallery at 1 Camp Street in 1844 and was in partnership with Charles E. Johnson for a period of time. In the fall of 1846 Edward White took over the gallery and it is likely that Jacobs continued to work from the gallery. It is reported that he was one of several New Orleans daguerreotypists who took a portrait of General Zachary Taylor in 1847 while he was visiting the city.

In about 1850 Jacobs established his own gallery at 93 Camp Street and embarked on a period of time that would establish him as one of the premier photographers in New Orleans. It was during this time that this image was likely taken.

Case. Rinhart #260


Cowan’s Auctions. Auction Listing, 2020

Nolan, Sean William. Fixed in Time. 3rd edition, 2017

Palmquist, Peter E. and Thomas R. Kailbourn. Pioneer Photographers from the Mississippi to the Continental Divide: A Biographical Dictionary, 1839-1865.

Rinhart, Floyd and Marion. American Miniature Case Art. 1969